Two programs that our Newport County high school students could benefit from would be a Naval JROTC program and a five-year high school program to also provide an associate degree from the Community College of Rhode Island.
The subject of a Naval JROTC program was presented to the Middletown School Committee recently with the superintendent of schools asked to review the proposal and report back with a recommendation at the next School Committee meeting. There has also been much interest by members of the Portsmouth School Committee, the Tiverton School Committee and the regional MET School in Newport.
A regional approach to this program would make sense. The Navy League has also endorsed the concept and the development of an ad hoc committee to review the topic. A Naval JROTC Program would not only build character but also help build a strong sense of service to community and country among our high school students. If they continue on they can pursue wonderful careers in the service and if they decide not to continue in the program, they will have established a set of skills that are extremely valuable for the future.
The subject of a five-year high school program leading to an college associate degree is being evaluated at high schools in Maine and exists in other areas of Rhode island. This program could be developed with the local CCRI campus in Newport and allow local high school students to enter the job market at the end of the five years with a set of skills and degree to help them be very competitive in the difficult workforce that exists today. They could then decide to either continue on for a bachelor's degree in a field of their choice or enter the workforce with established credentials. CCRI President and acting higher education commissioner Ray Di Pasquale has agreed to discuss this topic.
Nearly two-thirds of graduates from Rhode Island’s high schools who enroll at the Community College of Rhode Island need to take remedial classes when they get there—a troubling reflection of the state’s public school system and a burden for its only community college.
“What it all comes down to is: Are students ready for the rigors of college or whatever they want to do after high school?” said President Ray Di Pasquale. “Are they prepared? And we know from our numbers, they are not.”
The above two programs would help our local high schools students become better prepared for the challenging real world work environment today.